Difficult to check Corona claims for students of journalism

EUfactcheck takes another course during the corona crisis because we want to safeguard the journalistic and methodological quality of the published fact checks.
Times are strange and unpredictable now, with governmental regulations straining the work of journalists, with media dealing with changing truths from one hour to the next, with the undefeatable speed of social media countering false claims and statements, with difficulties for students of journalism to contact experts.
The educational core of our project (we’re not a 24/7 fact-checking site) and the intensive coaching of our students are also influenced by the closure of universities all over Europe and restrictions on information.
That’s why we’ve asked our journalism students not to focus specifically on debunking claims on corona. These will mainly turn out to be uncheckable anyway or have already been checked by other fact checkers. We did ask our students to publish blog posts about the media approaches and to monitor how journalism is handling this changed reality in Europe and beyond. If the circumstances allow it, our students can choose to check news on corona.
We will keep you informed with reliable and fact based information.

Latest fact-checks

Mostly true: The chance to get infected with coronavirus is smaller outside than inside

The coronavirus has been infecting people worldwide for over half a year now. We know more and more about the disease that causes Covid-19. It plays a substantial role in our lives nowadays and many statements are made about the virus. Thierry Baudet, leader of the Dutch political party Forum for Democracy (FVD) said, at…

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True: European Commission will finance the development of media literacy of the Russians in a context of pandemic

The information about the intention of the European Commission to finance development of media literacy in Russia was published on the website of Russian international news channel RT on April 15, 2020. It is reported that EC is going to provide EUR 3.200.000 within the framework of the grant for the promotion and protection the freedom…

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Mostly true: There is outdated legislation in Scandinavia when it comes to rape

Amnesty International published an article on April 3, 2019 on the flawed legal system in Scandinavian countries. “The law leaves victims of sexual violence out in the cold.” We checked whether Amnesty International’s article on the flawed legal system, when it comes to rape, is correct. Little has changed since then in the Scandinavian countries.

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Mostly true: “While Greece and Malta are rejecting migrants, in 2020 in Italy more than 5000 sans-papiers arrived, despite the pandemic”

Matteo Salvini, former Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and leader of the largest right-wing party, “The League”, claimed in a well-known Italian tv show that “while Greece and Malta are rejecting boatloads of immigrants, in Italy in 2020 more than 5000 sans-papiers arrived by sea, despite the pandemic. He added that arrivals were only 1500…

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fact checking

Mostly False: “The pesticide mancozeb is a relatively harmless substance”

On the 13th of March, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an article concerning banning the pesticide mancozeb. In the article Jeroen Voorbraak, director of UPL Breda, states that mancozeb is a relatively harmless substance and that it has not been shown to cause Parkinson’s disease or to have hormone-disrupting properties. His claim turns out to…

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False: “Gargles with warm water, salt or vinegar eliminate corona virus”

A supposed corona virus prevention formula was circulating on the internet in previous months. According to the text, shared on the WhatsApp platform by Brazilian users, gargling with water, salt and vinegar is sufficient to eliminate the virus from the person’s throat, where it “stays for four days before going to her lung” (data given…

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fact-check uncheckable

Uncheckable: “Trains are 10 times more environmentally friendly than airplanes”

The Belgian and Austrian railway companies NMBS and ÖBB claim that the new night train between Brussels and Vienna is 10 times more environmentally friendly than airplanes. This claim was published in many Belgian media as ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’, ‘Knack’ and ‘Dewereldmorgen’. The claim turns out to be uncheckable. Both NMBS and ÖBB were unable…

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False: China is acquisitioning EU companies during Corona times

Earlier this month, on April 12th, Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice-president of the European Commission gave an interview to the Financial Times, in which she stated: “European countries should buy stakes in companies to stave off the threat of Chinese takeovers, the EU competition chief has said, as Brussels steps up plans to protect businesses…

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Latest blog posts

female heads of state gender equality

Blog: EU: Do female heads of state ensure gender equality?

Writers Julia Harder and Gwen Rochat, Journalism students at Windesheim University Zwolle, The Netherlands, noticed a tweet from the Icelandic Prime Minister, saying Iceland is the frontrunner in gender equality. In making this factcheck, we realized there is no yes/no answer to our question: the situation is far more complex. For example, we expected that…

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Blog: Widely known COVID-19 conspiracies in Georgia

Coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied with a dissemination of fake news and conspiracy theories. Georgia was no exception, as various groups, including pro-Kremlin, ultra-national, and radical groups have been referring to COVID-19 as an artificially created virus, spreading fear, and associating the virus with the 5G Internet. One of the authors of the disinformation and…

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© Veera Nikkanen, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Blog: Covid-19 News Coverage Highlights Agriculture’s Dependence on Migrant Workers

During the first weeks of the pandemic, headlines were about people hoarding toilet paper and long-lasting goods such as pasta and dry yeast. The concern about agriculture and gardening industries started to gain headlines as the pandemic continued to spread We analysed media coverage of agricultural themes from March 19 until the end of April.

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Media monitoring: Sports websites look back and inspire to start moving

During this lockdown we started “media monitoring” of sports websites. This implies that we’ve been scanning different sports websites during Corona times to find out how they approach news reporting right now and if we could find any similarities or differences between them. During this period we decided to focus on three different sports websites,…

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Photo Credits: Elina Sonkajärvi, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences

Blog: News coverage on cross-border working revealed a divided EU in the fight against covid-19

The free movement of people is one of the four fundamental rights of the EU. Due to the newly introduced border restrictions across the continent caused by the pandemic of Covid-19, this right cannot be fulfilled as before. Terminologically, the media coverage of the situation has been framed with the use of words with negative…

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Blog: Russian disinformation now targets the facility which helps Georgia fight COVID-19

The Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center opened in Georgia in 2011, with funds from the U.S. Government within the framework of the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program. The purpose of the center  is to promote public health through detecting and tackling outbreaks of disease. Though the construction of the center was funded by the U.S.,…

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evens foundation
Group photo EUFACTCHECK 240119

About Us

EUFACTCHECK is the fact-checking project of the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) that intends to build a sustainable curriculum unit on fact-checking within a European network of Journalism schools.

Through fact-checking European political claims and trying to tackle misinformation, we want our students and our public to grow a deeper insight and interest in democratic processes, both on national and European level.

EUFACTCHECK wishes to motivate fact-based debate in the EU and to stimulate media and information literacy.

‘The Future Looks Bright!’

After the success of the students’ publications, the participants of EJTA’s fact-checking project EUFACTCHECK decided at the EJTA AGM in Paris (July 2019) to move on with the project and to take new steps in the academic year 2019-2020.

At the EJTA Teachers’ Conference in Dortmund (October 2019)  practical details were discussed and a new publication schedule was created for autumn 2019.

By January-February 2019 a manual with guidelines and tips & tricks will be published and on 13-14 February 2020 a second Bootcamp will be organised in Ljubljana, with financial help from the Evens Foundation. This Train the Trainer will be focussing on Central Eastern European countries, but also on new participants that want to publish on the platform.

All the information about this event: nadia.vissers@ap.be

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Suggest a fact-check

“What is this politician saying??” Did you read or hear a politician or public figure make a questionable claim? Send us an email with the claim and maybe we will fact-check it.

Please include the source (url and date) where you found the claim.

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